I am so high on spring. I can’t sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking things like: “I should build a goat pen in the lot” or “tomorrow I need to plant some corn”. My To Do list is long and includes actions that are so physically challenging, I would die if I actually did them all.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining—I love this springtime high. And I know I’m not alone. Proof came on Friday when I attended the Compost Giveaway in Berkeley. Every last Friday of the month the City of Berkeley gives away whole pick-ups full of rich, dark, lovely finished compost. All you do is bring your truck, wait in line, and then get a scoop of soil from a bulldozer.
I arrived at 8:45 and so did everyone else. Truck after truck after truck, all in a line. Even my friend Willow arrived in her big red bomber truck. First we talked on the phone, then we realized the line was moving very slowly. She came over to my truck. “I’ve never seen so many people here!” she said. The guy in the khakis and buttondown shirt managing the people told us he had never seen anything like the line before either. The fat, cigarette smoking cop looked like he was going to have a heart attack. Did he expect a riot?
I realized that this pack of compost hungry people was tangible evidence of a.) spring and b.) the huge increase in gardening, perhaps during a recession. There were ghetto trucks (mine), sleek trucks with Biblical verse written on it, and rental trucks. There were young people and old people, a guy wearing overalls and a matching child wearing overalls. There were community gardeners, professional landscapers, scroungers, and urban farmers. Everyone likes free soil.
If you didn’t have a truck, there were two smaller piles of compost and wood chips off to the side for people who couldn’t take a load from the bulldozer. These people had shovels and buckets and galvanized laundry buckets, and other weird receptacles to scoop up the black gold. I loved seeing the enthusiasm of all these people. Working so hard so that their plants would thrive. I wondered what their gardens looked like, what they were growing, how they grow stuff. Seeing the people swarming around these piles made me so proud of us. Us humans. We do so many horrible things, but when we garden, we are beautiful.
In the end, I waited about 40 minutes to get my free soil. Was it worth it? I can’t say just by looking at it, but the soil looks beautiful. It comes from the green bins, municipal compost picked up in the East Bay, turned into compost, and then returned to the people. What a lovely cycle.
Thanks for the tip Oliver!
-Every last Friday of the month is free compost give away at the , near the Adventure Playground on the South side of the marina.